Have a Marlis Day!

My Friend Sandy….or Roxie?

Posted on: December 19, 2011

Sandy and I taught on the 7th grade team for many years. She taught science while I taught language arts. If I had a question, I went to Sandy; she always knew the answer. Her quirky sense of humor kept me laughing on days when the system failed us and our students. A great lover of mysteries, she introduced me to her favorite authors and soon I loved them too. After immersing myself in the mystery genre, I decided to write one of my own, set in our school. Heaven only knows schools are loaded with means, motives, and opportunities for  murder. After settling on a plot, I developed Margo Brown, teacher and amateur sleuth. Of course, Margo needed a partner in crime solving and I wanted her to be like Sandy. I asked her if I could model Margo’s sidekick, Roxie, after her. She agreed and Roxie became real to me. She had that same raspy voice and West Virginia drawl as Sandy. She also loved science, paranormal activities, dinosaurs, sci-fi movies, bizarre outfits and jewelry. Nothing scared Roxie and she was ready to battle the toughest enemy, twice saving Margo’s life during their daring and sometimes zany investigations.

When Why Johnny Died was published, followed by Death of a Hoosier Schoolmaster and The Curriculum Murders, I visited libraries and bookstores all over the country in shameless self-promotion. Readers invariably commented on how they enjoyed Roxie. I explained there really was a Roxie, but her name was Sandy. One book club asked if I could bring Roxie along when they took me to dinner. I invited her, but she declined and had me convey the fact that she was very shy. (Imagine me rolling my eyes here.)

We retired on the same day and since then have met once a month for a day of shopping and lunch. During these times, we buy new clothes, browse antique shops, flea markets, used clothing stores, eat a lovely lunch, and end up at Wal-Mart where she makes me sniff every new candle scent. I always drive and Sandy always pushes the cart. I look forward to these long days with her, days when we laugh easily and often.

Today Sandy battles a fierce enemy, a disease so dastardly I won’t pen its name. After surgery and aggressive chemo we thought the dragon had died, but it returned mandating more surgery and chemo treatments. Through all this, Sandy keeps her sense of humor and positive outlook on life. I visit her and take books, ice cream, and pickled beets (her favorite.) I look forward to spring when her treatments will be complete and we can resume our monthly adventures.


6 Responses to "My Friend Sandy….or Roxie?"

Ah, I’m so sorry. I remember you said that last week @ the meeting. Could you send me her address–again?
Your description of her sounds soooooo much like Miss Micki!

I’m so very sorry to hear about your friend having to go through that. It really strikes home when illness hits someone you know and love. I hope she’s feeling better soon!

Morgan Mandel

Marlis, I’m so sorry to hear that Sandy’s ‘problem’ has returned. Keep positive thoughts…….
Brenda Stewart

As always Marlis, I enjoyed reading about you and your friend while sitting at the Ecke YMCA out in Encinitas, CA. What gift to be able to write , a gift that I really appreciate now sixty years after graduating from high school. Dr John Haswell , a friend of mine who lived & worked in Vincennes but now lives in Florida, has that gift too! Anyhow Marlis. I enjoyed blog and will try to read your stories. Well I’ve finished my post exercise coffee. Jay Tuttle

Thanks for the kind words. How nice to be in southern CA during this time of year!

I taught for many years and have my special “Sandy” friends. Now, thirty-nine yrs. later…still my special friends. My thoughts and prayers to Sandy.


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